Opposition to Omaha City Council's Palermo replacement pick grows as national group weighs in
Set to take the oath of office Tuesday, Ron Hug joins the Omaha City Council as charges of racism surround his appointment, charges that have now gone national.
The League of United Latin American Citizens, commonly known as LULAC, is launching a "get-out-the-vote coalition campaign" demanding representation from the city’s elected officials.
At the same time Hug, who is filling the seat held by ousted Councilman Vinny Palermo, is on the record defending his role in cases of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
[View our full video report above]
As we first reported, the Omaha City Council’s unanimous choice of Ron Hug, has come with a backlash. Several Hispanics in the predominately Hispanic South Omaha district charging racism, that one of two Hispanic candidates vying for the post were not selected.
Erik Servellon specifically insisting, “For too long we've faced disinvestment, discrimination, racism…This vote was more of the same—a blatant slap in the face.”
During his public interview, Hug was asked this:
Councilwoman Juanita Johnson, (D) “Please provide a situation where you apply the following concepts: diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Ron Hug, Council Appointee (D): “I sit on the Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors where I sat for 24 years. Metro is the most diverse educational institution in the region; 35 percent of our students are minority. Of our nearly 1,000 full-time employees 29 percent, or nearly 29 percent, of them are minorities. It’s just not hiring, it's every aspect of procurement, it's every contract you go out and let out.”
But LULAC calls Hug’s appointment a “farce.” Elsa Ramon, the League’s council-president in Nebraska says, "The council overlooked three highly educated, successful Latino candidates of a new generation our community knows and respects. Instead, the members reverted to the good-ol' boy safe pick of a white male.”
Hug was picked to fill the City Council seat left open when Democrat Vinny Palermo was indicted and since convicted of federal wire fraud and taking kickbacks. Hug also addressing that during his earlier council interview.
Ron Hug: “The most important issue in the district today is filling this vacancy and once that vacancy is filled it's restoring the confidence in that seat.”
Joe Jordan, NCN: “Have you felt that lack of confidence, people tell you about that?”
Ron Hug: “I think a lot of people were just in shock.”
Hug now challenged to unify the district he has always called home.
Ron Hug: “We are talking about, South Omaha, it's where my great grandfather and great grandmother chose to settle down. It’s where my grandparents lived and died. It's where my parents grew up. It's where I live today. It's who I am. I mean I am South Omaha.”
LULAC is also urging Latinos to, “Reach out to corporations based in Omaha and are benefitting economically from our more than 62 million consumers…You cannot claim to be our friend and stand on the sidelines then expect us to do business with you,” says Emma Lozano, the League’s national vice-president for the Midwest."